Angel Funding Via Google AdSense

When I recently interviewed Matt Cutts he stated that many companies at the Web 2.0 conference were powered by AdSense. Kevin Burton hopes to take AdSense one step further, using it for angel funding for TailRank. Some others are already donating their AdSense.

Google to Reenable Inactive Content Ads

Recently when ads were disabled from Google AdWords they also were disabled from the content network, but that is no more.

Why do 'inactive for search' keywords remain active for content?

The Google AdWords system uses all the keywords in your Ad Group to help match your ads with relevant content network sites. In some cases, keywords which have proven ineffective when triggering your ad for search turn out to be very effective when triggering content impressions. In other cases the keyword is simply useful as context in helping the system determine the overall subject areas of your ads.

How they can have such a large network and then just randomly announce that effective now things are changed?

Some advertisers who do not log into their accounts in the next few days may come back from their holiday break to see a ton of formerly disabled overpriced content clicks killing their ROI.

Google AdWords Opens Up Content Bidding

A while ago in SEM2.0 Andrew Goodman mentioned that Google was enabling separate content bids. JenSense just posted on the topic from the publisher perspective.

Google was intentionally slow to roll this feature out and makes the feature a bit hard to access, because they would prefer to automate the process using smart pricing and get you to buy as much advertising as you can afford.

Put another way, Google thinks that they algorithmically can determine the value of an ad better than you can estimate it. Having said all that, they do realize that sometimes the feeling of control will increase ad spend from some advanced advertisers, so...

Content bids let AdWords advertisers set one price when their ads run on search sites and a separate price when their ads run on content sites. If you find that you receive better business leads or a higher ROI from ads on content sites than on search sites (or vice versa), you can now bid more for one kind of site and less for the other. Content bids let you set the prices that are best for your own business.

I think a large part of the reason for the early success of Chitika has been that for certain types of content (like consumer electronics) image ads do have more value than the typical textual search ad.

If you have found underpriced content inventory look for this added control to cause more people to dip their toes in the water and drive up costs.

Not only does this new service allow you to bid differently for content clicks than search clicks, but it also allows you to buy content ads while opting out of search ads. In the past AdWords also allowed content only ads, but required content ads to be purchased on a CPM basis.

Now you can buy targeted content only ads and only pay when people click. Cheap branding opportunity I suspect. Perhaps with that type of distribution it makes sense to craft ugly highly graphical animated contextual ads that say DON'T CLICK HERE.

Track Google AdSense Clicks via Google Analytics - Free AdSense Tracker

There have been 3rd party javascripts that track adsense clicks out for a while, but no free ones to my knowledge that track clicks on Firefox. Until now.

This free script integrates with Google Analytics to allow you to track your adsense clicks.

This tracking is done through "Goals". A goal is a way of tracking when a website visitor does something you want - Buy an item, submit a contact form, or in our case click an adsense ad.

Create a goal: To create a goal you assign it a URL. This url doesn't have to exist, as the javascript will trigger it.
In the Goal URL field, enter "/asclick" and "AdClick" for the goal name.

Google Analytics Goal.

Adding the javscript to your page: Copy the astrack.js to your website server and add the following to the footer of your website. This has to come after all adsense code.

<script src="/astrack.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

Testing it: DON'T! There is no way to test that this works as it tracks adsense clicks, and you can't click your own adsense. You'll just have to trust me that works :)

After some time you should start seeing goal tracking appearing in your stats.
For example, here is source conversion. Note that the percentages are based on Visitors, not Pageviews, so they do not compare to CTR.

Google Analytics Source Conversion.

So from that graphic we can see that out of 11 visitors that came from MSN, 54% of then clicked on an adsense ad over the course of their visit.

Below many graphs in Google Analytics is a list with round arrows. If you click the arrows on almost any item you see an option for "To-date Lifetime value".

Google Analytics Lifetime.

Click this and you see the Goal conversion for that item. For example here is the Coversion rate for DSL users.

Google Analytics DSL user conversion rate example.

Once you have Google Analytics tracking your clicks, you can cross segment that data to almost any other data Google Analytics shows. It becomes a very powerful way of optimising your site, not just for CTR, but for the type of visitors that click adsense.

[Thanks to Shawn Hogan and Jim from Digital Media Minute]

Content Optimization Changes to Content Generation

A friend of mine mentioned how the noise level in SEO forums has gone from around 95% to about 99%. I think it is largely due to a shift from content optimization to content creation (and remember that this is a site selling a book on optimization, so me saying this is not in any way to my benefit).

Here is why there is a large shift from optimization to creation

  • The ease which content can be published: It took me less than 2 hours to teach my mom Blogger, Bloglines, rss, xml, etc. She now blogs every day.

  • the ease in which content can be commented on and improved in quality
  • the casual nature in which links flow toward real content
  • the massive increase in the number of channels and quantity of information makes us more inclined to look for topical guides to navigate the information space
  • the ease with which content can be monetized has greatly increased. AdSense, Yahoo! Publisher Network, Chitika, new Amazon Product Previews, affiliate programs, link selling, direct ads, donations, (soon enough Google Wallet for microcontent), etc.
  • contextual ad programs teach the content publishers to blend links, which has the net effect of...
    • short term increase in revenues for small publishers

    • until users trust links less
    • at which point in time users will be forced to go back to primary trusted sources (ie: one of the few names they trust in the field or a general search engine like Google)
  • it is getting increasingly expensive to find quality link inventory that works in Google to promote non content sites, and margins are slimming for many of those creating sites in hyper competitive fields
  • the algorithms are getting harder for people new to the field to manipulate
  • around half of all search queries are unique. most hollow spam sites focus on the top bits whereas natural published information easily captures the longer queries / tail of search
  • duplicate content filters are aggressively killing off many product catalog and empty shell affiliate sites
  • as more real / useful content is created those duplicate content and link filtering algorithms will only get better
  • general purpose ecommerce site owners will have the following options:
    • watching search referrals decrease until their AdWords spends increases

    • thickening up their sites to offer far more than a product catalog
    • switching to publishing content sites
  • and the market dynamics for Google follow popular human behavior, even for branded terms or keyword spaces primarily created by single individuals
    • the term SEO Book had 0 advertisers and about 0 search volume when I launched this site

    • this site got fairly popular
    • SEO Book is now one of my most expensive keyword phrases

As long as it is original, topical, and structured in a non wild card replace fashion content picks up search traffic and helps build an audience.

I am not trying to say that optimization is in any way dead, just that the optimization process places far more weight on content volume and social integration than it did a year or two ago.

The efficiencies Google are adding to the market will kill off many unbranded or inefficient businesses. One of my clients has an empty shell product site and does no follow up marketing with the buyers. I can't help but think that there needs to be some major changes in that business or in 3 to 6 months we won't be able to compete on the algorithmic or ppc front without me being very aggressive.

Yahoo! Publisher Contextual Lunch

Why chose Yahoo!?

  • provide control to publishers - not a black box

  • quality network
  • competitive revenue opportunity (over 100,000 ad buyers)
  • opportunity to integrate with Yahoo! content & Yahoo! users
    custmoer service & community

Size of Yahoo! Publishing beta?
approximately 2,000 publishers

they just launched ads in rss feeds

  • open to all beat participants

  • diversifies rev ops
  • aligns w growing shift to rss
  • supports movabletype and wordpress
  • ads optimized to drive revenue

Yahoo! stated some think 5-6% of web users use rss but Yahoo! research showed it was closer to 30% of web users.

Jen asked if Yahoo! has anything similar to Google AdWords smart pricing?

  • not needed for the following reasons

  • allows advertisers to bid separately for the different content channels
  • Yahoo! is more selective with partners

Jen asked when Yahoo! Publisher would be global
likely early 2006

plans for an affiliate program?
want to work to lower bar to make it easier for publishers to make money and work with Yahoo!...will allow affiliate program and will likely eventually support cpm pricing

wide range of topics on one to be relevant?
can target ads at page level, directory level, or site level...can allow page or directory to override the site level targeting

going to change rev share percentage after beta?
absolutely not, but eventually may use traffic quality to adjust click price

Will Yahoo! offer behavioral targeting on contextual ads?
no nearterm plans, but may eventually

Rate of revshare / how compare to Google AdWords?
Yahoo! does not share the revshare %. more interested in being competitive in allow you to monetize.
revshare by publisher will vary over time

may eventually say you are in x range... to get in another range you may need to (get more traffic higher quality clicks etc)

Jen said targeting was no good at it where it needs to be?
still working to improve...pleased with speed at which it is being made better

Will Yahoo! offer a premium publisher program?
may give advertisers more control over who working with. but even small publisher may be premium if quality targeted traffic etc

How long will Yahoo! publisher in beta?
maybe toward end of q1

Jen asked plan on cpm ads?
may add cpm cpa. yahoo already does cpm on internal network

Will Overture drop the minimum bid?

Hidden AdSense Ads & Hidden Search Results

Ads as well for some. You know AdSense is out of hand when premade sites are selling on eBay.

Debt Consolidation:
Fun to hear a guy whine about his 2 sites in his sig file not outranking Forbes for debt consolidation
because Forbes has an ad page. :(

I bet his debt consolidation lead generation sites are informational in nature :)

Some are discussing creating links wars
as if that will help them rank. Good luck knocking out

If Google dials up their weighting on large authority sites before Christmas maybe the solution is to buy ad pages on some of them. I bet there are some great underpriced ad links and advertisement pages if people would look hard enough.

Link to Jim Boykin's new tool...still a bad tool name though, IMHO.

Google AdWords offers Section Targeting

Great deal for advertisers. Some content sites are fairly mixed, with a limited number of pages being relevant for a particular product or business model.

Site targeting places your ads on individual sites in the Google content network. Site sections take that one step further by placing your ads on only one section or even one page of a site. If you sell soccer shoes, for instance, you might choose to advertise only on the sports section of a news site rather than placing ads across the entire site.

Select a site section by entering its URL in the AdWords site tool or in the 'Edit Sites and CPM' section of your account. If the full site is, the section URL will take the form You may target individual pages by using the form Refer to the URL of the actual site to see how its sections are named. Source

If a site ranks where you want to be seen you can target ads at that specific page. Absolutely wonderful for marketing a product against an old competing one.

A while ago I also mentioned that if these page targeted ads were far underpriced some webmasters may be inclined to spam for authority sites to get the ads they place on them a bit more exposure. The ad market really is opening up :)

A great SEO tool that needs to be made is one that searches the search engines for desirable keyword terms and returns the result pages which offer AdSense ads on them.

I would imagine it also would not be hard to automate adding those pages to an AdWords account, and automate building a bit of link popularity for them.

Google Goes AdBrite?

Part of the reason AdBrite was able to take off quickly was that it made buying ads an easy impulse purchase. It seems Google likes the idea, and on some quality AdSense publishing sites (like Ask The Builder) they are beta testing a new your ad here feature. When you click the advertise here link they bring up an AdWords page explaining how and why to advertise on the site.

The sign up process is smooth for new advertisers, but a bit sloppy for people who are already AdWords advertisers (who may not yet have experience running site targeted ads).

It will be interesting to see how granular the site targeting ads may become (ie: section targeting or page targeting). If they make them exceptionally granular you could buy ads on a somewhat decent ranking page on an authority site and then get them a few additional cheap spamish links to increase their ranking on that page or section and boost your ad exposure, while not being seen as associated with the spamming.

Yahoo! is beta testing their contextual ad service. MSN will also enter the contextual ad games soon, which will mean 3 companies will be fighting for publishers with their feature sets and payouts. Likely publishers as well as creative marketers / spammers should be able to do really well with that. It also means you will probably see less dog food for sale.

link from the brick man :)

AdWords Site Exclusion Expands to 500 Sites

Google expanded their Google AdWords Site Exclusion tool to 500. But, to be honest, most advertisers are not tracking that granularly, and I doubt many people are blocking anywhere near 100 sites. Yawn.

I think Google needs to give more control to AdSense publishers, allowing them to block keyword themes. A friend of mine recently created a site about video cards and on his video card comparison page he keeps getting ads for crap like Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, and various sports cards. What is up with that? Sure he hasn't got all the comparison pages indexed (as his site is new and that would be 45000 additional pages with lots of similar content to the individual card pages), but what would be wrong with letting him block a half dozen concepts instead of making him need to block 100's of sites?